Does Islam say: beat your wife?

I have chosen to repost the article below on women, islam and deviations.
this articles has shed light on the wrong interpretation of a verse of the Quran concerning women
ROUKAYA
19-07-2008, 09:25
Articles on Women, Islam and Deviations
Punishing Disobedient Wives
Ghada Al-Hori • Al-Watan

I find it unacceptable when some people twist the meaning of a particular verse in the Holy Qur’an — especially the one which permits a husband to beat his disobedient wife. Those who do the twisting must understand that the permission is only given under certain circumstances and that the beating is intended as a remedy for specific situations. It is unfortunate that some well-known and respected Muslim scholars have either willingly or unwillingly joined a campaign seeking to distort the meaning of that particular verse.

In many cases, they have given a different meaning from the one actually intended. The verse — number 34 in Surah IV — reads as follows: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore, righteous women are devotedly obedient and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. And to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first) and (then) refuse to share their beds (and last) beat them (lightly), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means of annoyance.”

It is quite obvious here that Islam adopts a gradual approach starting with verbal admonishment of the wife, then seeks a period of refraining from conjugal relations and, finally, if the husband finds the situation very serious, he may strike his disobedient wife.

Some scholars have even suggested that the punishment (beating) cited here is not of the physical nature and that what the husband is required to do is stay away from the disobedient wife. In short, they say the husband should leave the house and go to another place. This is not what is actually intended in the verse.

The beating which is only prescribed in the case of disobedient wives is intended to serve as a remedy in an unusual situation. If the husband feels the wife is behaving in a disobedient and rebellious manner, he is required to rectify her attitude — first by kind words, then gentle persuasion and reasoning. Beating as a last resort must never be understood to entail using a stick or any other instrument that would cause pain or injury.

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